Industry News Update 7/19/19

July 2019 | Mike Murphy

Industry News

Learn About the Latest in Healthcare and Healthcare IT by Reading this Week's Industry News Update

Click on the links below to read the full news articles.


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Regulatory, Legislative,


Legal News


• Although more clinicians who participated in year two of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System will receive a bonus compared to year one, there are less participants overall, the CMS announced Friday.

Home Health agencies across the United States are preparing for the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) that will create new requirements for the Home Health industry. Created as a result of the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act, the new model relies more heavily on clinical characteristics and other patient information to determine payment categories. The Act also calls for the use of 30-day payment periods and the elimination of therapy visit thresholds as a basis for payment, among other changes.

The Federal Trade Commission approved an approximately $5 billion settlement with Facebook over the company’s 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook has also agreed to document data decisions for new products, keep a closer eye on the way third-party apps tap users’ information, and other terms.

Shares of drug companies, dialysis chains, and pharmacy benefit management owners surged this week after three White House plans to lower prices stumbled.

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Investment News


Diabetes monitoring technology vendor Livongo updates its SEC filing, gearing up to go public at a valuation of up to $2.4 billion. 

Bitcoin slumped more than 10% over the weekend to a two-week low as fears of a crackdown of cryptocurrencies grew on mounting scrutiny of Facebook’s planned Libra digital coin.

Diabetes management startup Pops! Diabetes Care has raised $6 million in a Series A round led by 30Ventures with participation from Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Flying Point Industries.

Referral management software vendor Proficient Health merges with clinical communications company MD Interconnect.

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New Products





• 23andMe gives a subset of customers the ability to add lab results, medication information, and medical history to their genetic data through the Human API medical data network.

Intel has taken a notable step toward a digital equivalent or the human brain, building a computer system with 8 million digital neurons. The system, called Pohoiki Beach, is packed with 64 of Intel Labs' Loihi chips and will be available to researchers who can help the chipmaker mature the technology and move it toward commercialization.

Sony says its new MRW-S3 USB hub is the world's fastest SD card reader with up to 300 MB/s read rates.

XRHealth, a digital health startup best known for its virtual reality technology, is now opening up its platform to third-party developers to embed VR capabilities in their own products and platforms.

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• Many companies are still failing at the basics of cybersecurity, according to an analysis of more than 1,000 incidents by Secureworks. These include poor visibility, lack of MFA, and insufficient care over third party suppliers. 

Members of the cybercriminal group behind the infamous Dridex Trojan have split from the gang and released a forked version of the BitPaymer ransomware, CrowdStrike reported.

Hackers can manipulate media files transferred by users through the WhatsApp and Telegram messaging applications due to the way the Android operating system allows apps to access files in external storage, Symantec warned on Monday.

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• The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo a global health emergency, citing the virus's recent spread into Goma, one of the country's most densely populated cities.

An app that harnesses the unused processing power of idling mobile phones has been used to identify anti-cancer molecules in a range of foods. The research identified carrots, celery and oranges as having the highest number of cancer-fighting molecules. The DreamLab app, which has now been downloaded 83,000 times, works while users sleep and has so far performed more than 10 million calculations.

Healthcare executives cite improved quality and satisfaction, reduced costs, and growth and higher revenue as top benefits of patient navigation programs, according to a Docent Health survey. Top patient navigation technologies include phone calls, EHRs, and portals. Text messaging and CRM software seem underused, with slightly more than a third of respondents using each.

A Lancet article says the “scarcity loop” – a common belief that society can never deliver or afford enough healthcare services – has encouraged doctors to make “health” synonymous with “consuming more resources.” The authors say this mindset has steered doctors into treating every patient as a simple list of physical complaints in trying to help them live longer instead of supporting their need to lead a more meaningful life.

After widespread outcry by many of its reseller partners about a decision to start charging them for using its software and services to run their businesses, Microsoft is capitulating. The company is no longer going to revoke internal use rights (IURs) for its partners next year, as it previously announced.

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